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Moldova: Mum awaits judgement on “infested tap water” human rights complaint

A mother, who was admitted to hospital after contracting acute dysentery from “infested tap water,” will find out tomorrow if her human rights were breached.

The decision in the case Otgon v. the Republic of Moldova (no. 22743/07) will be announced tomorrow (25 October).

The applicant, Svetlana Otgon, is a Moldovan national who was born in 1963 and lives in Călărași (the Republic of Moldova). The case concerns Otgon’s complaint about the amount of damages awarded to her by the courts after she drank infested tap water.

Otgon and her 12-year-old daughter were admitted to hospital in October 2005 with “serious acute dysentery” after drinking tap water. She was discharged two weeks later and soon after filed a lawsuit against the State-owned local utilities provider claiming 6,700 euros compensation for the harm caused to her health.

In March 2006, the Călărași District Court ruled in her favour since various technical and sanitary reports revealed that sewage water had infilitrated the drinking water pipe in the vicinity of Otgon’s apartment.

The district court awarded her 648 euros, basing its decision on the amount of physical and mental suffering caused. Relying on the same elements (degree of harm), the higher courts then confirmed the findings of the first-instance court, but reduced the award to 310 euros.

Relying on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life and the home), Otgon complains that her health had been endangered after having drunk infested tap water and that the amount of compensation awarded to her had been insufficient.

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